In my youth, to be an artist was a liability. Now it is an asset. My contemporaries recognize the sense of purpose and driven need all my tribe and I have to re-create the world in words and images. They see it gives value to our days.
To Weave a Rainbow explores the difficulties and frustrations that confront a young man with a poetic soul who hoped the world might be as beautiful in truth as it was in his imagination. It is very much a first novel, a young man’s work. It is based in London and examines my first sightings of the adult world of work. I was disappointed even though this was the London of the late sixties and early seventies and to be there at that time was magnificent. I believe I saw London at its finest.
I assumed the years of my education were cocooned, an idyll protected and distanced from the actual world of getting and spending: The City, Business, and Money. There were no quaint little Personal Computers then. Giant mainframes took whole office-block floors for themselves and whirred their importance to the world. But not to me.
This entwined structure of government and commerce seemed islanded and remote from a life that could be significant.
Dan is based on my friend Angus. Sadly, he has already died but I remember vividly the day when, after a long absence abroad, he burst into the room and smacked a hugely annotated copy of To Weave a Rainbow onto the table and announced: ‘You wrote it down. What we said. You wrote it all down.’
The novel is full of talk. Young men are trying to understand the world and their place in it. It is a beginning.